Langley's McLeod Athletic Park hosted the Royal Canadian Legion youth track and field championships in both 2013 and 2014. The Township has been shortlisted to potentially host the Canadian track and field championships in both 2019 and 2020.

Langley short-listed for elite meet

McLeod Athletic Park one of six potential sites for 2019/20 Canadian track and field championships

Langley could potentially host one of the largest sporting events in the country.

The Township is one of six municipalities shortlisted by Athletics Canada to host the 2019/2020 Canadian track and field championships, an event where Canada’s most elite athletes will compete.

Embedded will also be the Canadian junior championships and the Canadian Para-athletics championships. Together, these three events serve as the 2019 world championship trials and world Paralympic championships, as well as the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games trials and Paralympic Games trials.

But before the final bid is submitted in March, organizers need confirmation from the Township that the hosting site — McLeod Athletic Park — can undergo $1.5 million in upgrades to bring the track up to international standards, prior to the events.

Brent Dolfo of the Langley Mustangs Track and Field club spoke to Township council on Monday evening asking for their support. He noted that about 80 to 90 per cent of the required upgrades, which include a resurfacing of the existing track, expansion of seating and construction of a warm-up track, were already scheduled for 2019.

They simply need those upgrades to be moved ahead by one year.

According to the Langley Mustangs delegation request, “the successful host city must demonstrate the ability to stage a major national sporting event in a highly successful and cost-effective manner with a focus on excellence in the areas of facility and event management, profitable ticket sales potential, community financial assistance and sponsorship.”

The Township is up against Montreal, Ottawa, Guelph, Edmonton and Calgary for the bid. But because B.C. has not hosted in more than 20 years, Dolfo believes they “have a good chance” of securing the bid.

Last year’s event, held in Edmonton, Alta. attracted 1,154 of Canada’s top athletes, 233 coaches and 88 officials, and created $5.4 million in economic activity.

Langley Mustangs is working with Tourism Langley to help with hotels, and will need to recruit hundreds of volunteers to help run the events.

Ultimately, the upgrades will also benefit Langley students, who use the facility for all major track events, and will help to raise the profile of track and field in Langley, Dolfo added.

At the end of their meeting, Township Coun. Bob Long asked that Dolfo’s presentation be referred to staff to see if the McLeod upgrades can be completed in time. Long’s motion carried unanimously.